Are Morocco, UK considering construction of a tunnel to link Gibraltar and Tangiers?
The decades-old project to connect Africa to Europe via the strait of Gibraltar has resurfaced lately as several media reported that London, or rather Boris Johnson, is determined to take advantage of the trade opportunities that may arise from its new status as a former partner of the European Union. And connecting Gibraltar to Morocco through Tangier is one of these opportunities.
The British premier’s cabinet would be considering, in collaboration with the Moroccan government, taking up a project that has already been started previously by Spain and Morocco, of a tunnel to connect the British colony of Gibraltar with the Moroccan city of Tangiers.
“London has seriously embarked on studying the project that will link Europe to Africa,” the Arab Weekly reports.
In principle, the most plausible option is a 30 km-long underwater tunnel, similar to the Eurotunnel that connects the island of Great Britain with France, built at the end of the last century.
According to several news outlets, Morocco would see this project in a good light, as it would facilitate the transit operation across the Strait of Gibraltar of thousands of Moroccan expatriates who travel from different points of Europe for holidaying in Morocco and would also be an option for boosting the commercial role of northern Morocco in the Mediterranean, which is currently centered on the port of Tanger-Med, whose expansion was completed just a year and a half ago.
Relations between Morocco and the UK have been strengthened in recent years, and even before becoming PM, Boris Johnson, initiated this new strategic relationship with the North African kingdom in the fields of economy, culture and security.
At last year’s United Kingdom-Africa summit, Morocco offered itself to the United Kingdom as a gateway to the African continent. This growing relationship was consolidated in October 2019, when the two countries signed a new, post-Brexit trade pact as London sought to diversify and strengthen its trade ties with foreign partners in an attempt to mitigate the economic impact of its withdrawal from the European Union.
This past summer, the two sides signed several trade agreements to reduce or eliminate tariffs on a number of fruit and vegetable products.
Actually, Moroccan agricultural products can replace Spanish, Portuguese and Italian products now that the United Kingdom is outside the EU, and this is just one of the areas where the two countries can come closer together. Tourism is another sector of fruitful cooperation where the connection between Tangiers and Gibraltar could be a major incentive. Besides the dream to construct a tunnel between the two shores of the Mediterranean, Morocco and UK They are studying the possibility of creating maritime routes for passengers and goods, and air connections from North Africa to Gibraltar, reports thecanadian.news.
According to The Arab Weekly, Boris Johnson “intends” to visit Morocco in the coming months to discuss the Gibraltar tunnel.